You Gotta Know Your Chicken: Cibo Matto to Drop First Album in 15 Years

New York Underground Duo Returns With Hotel Valentine. It’s full of ghosts, but they’re not scary.

By Tony Sokol

Cibo Matto

My kids had very eclectic tastes when they were infinks. I didn’t want to sit through most of what kids were supposed to watch on TV, listen to in the car, or whatever. I wanted to live a Teletubby-free existence, so I showed them Yellow Submarine and Nightmare Before Christmas instead of The Wiggles. They fell asleep to Soundgarden and instead of Raffi, they liked this New York band that sang about food, Cibo Matto. My kids knew their chicken.

Cibo Matto hasn’t had an album of new material since  1999's Stereo Type A. The band has been playing with the new updated Plastic Ono Band with Yoko and Sean. They’ve done some solo work and work with other artists, but nothing together, new, as Cibo Matto. They are now. They just announced their first album in 15 years, Hotel Valentine and they’re shredding it.

Miho Hatori and Yuka C. Honda did a couple reunion shows as Cibo Matto but that was just a tease. Miho and Yuka have actually been spending the past two years secretly recording material. They produced it themselves and pulled in guest appearances from Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, Mauro Refosco (of Atoms for Peace) and Reggie Watt, The Cibo Matto press release says Hotel Valentine is a concept album with a love story and ghosts in a hotel. 

In a recent interview Yuka Honda said “'Hotel Valentine' was the first song we wrote together for this album. It thus represents the genesis of our concept or story, but in a way it seems that explaining too much would prevent listeners from coming to their own conclusions about each song as well as about the whole project. Yes, there is a ghost girl, a hotel, housekeeping ladies and things happen. But they are elusive in nature. Having spent some time apart, we became more aware of our magical chemistry, our magnetic bond. We both realized we had unfinished business.”

Miho Hatori continued with "Hotel Valentine is the cinematic bricolage of Yuka and me. Our medium is music. For me, making an album is like raising a child. We don't know what kind of person (story) they will end up to be.”

Cibo Matto kind of means “crazy food” in Italian. The band was formed in New York City in 1994. The first album Viva La Woman, was all about food. They had an almost-hit with the song “Sugar Water” and they got to play for the undead in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Their second album Stereo Type A, threw off the food and added texture and some great chord progressions. Besides Miho and Yuka, the other band members are Sean Lennon, Timo Ellis and Duma Love.

Hotel Valentine will come out on Valentine’s Day February 14 on Chimera Music and Cibo Matto will tour behind it.

Cibo Matto put out the first single, "MFN", featuring Reggie Watts, and a music video.


Published December 8th, 2013

Tony Sokol is a writer, playwright and musician. He writes for Den of GeekThe Chiseler, and wrote for Altvariety,, Daily Offbeat. Dark Media Press, Wicked Mystic and other magazines. He has had over 20 plays produced in NYC, including Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera "AssassiNation: We Killed JFK." He appeared on the Joan Rivers (TV) Show, Strange Universe and Britain's "The Girlie Show."